Coincidentally, the Comrie Report on the 2010-11 floods has just been released. Although the report concentrates on the performance of emergency services, it does contain some enlightening remarks which underline Damian Wells’s argument. For example:
‘It is important to understand that the application of appropriate land use planning controls as part of municipal planning schemes is considered to be an effective means of minimising flood damage. Municipal councils are required to take into account flood risk when considering appropriate development on floodplains.’ [page 6]
The Comrie report makes reference to a document with which we were not familiar: the 1998 Victoria Flood Management Strategy. This document, currently under revision, is available here
Among other things, the Strategy says
‘Appropriate land use strategies are the most effective means of reducing the growth in flood risk and damages. With the introduction of Victoria Planning Provisions [VPPS], the ability of Victorian councils to carry out their land use planning role will be strengthened. The VPPs provide uniform statewide policy and control for development and works on floodplains. They require that flood risk must be considered in the preparation of planning schemes and in making land use planning decisions, and that land affected by flooding must be shown on planning scheme maps.’ [Page 9]
It seems from the substance of Damian Wells’s talk to the AGM that this has not happened.
The Parliamentary Environment and Natural Resources committee is due to present a report on the floods later in the year.